By Tim Cuprisin Media Columnist Published Mar 21, 2011 at 11:00 AM

Last week's revelation by Dan Bice in his Journal Sentinel column that county executive candidate Chris Abele didn't deal with a drunken driving citation for years is one of those stories that could sink a candidacy.

Then, on Sunday, the top story on the Journal Sentinel's front page reported that state troopers were writing fewer traffic tickets during the Capitol protests, when they were drawn off the roads to keep on eye on the crowds.

Neither of these stories fit into the mythical notion of the Journal Sentinel as a lefty newspaper, slanting its coverage to help Democrats.

That's not to say you couldn't find such stories, even in Sunday paper, where another front-page story quotes Supreme Court Justice David Prosser as calling Chief Justice Shirley Abraham a "bitch."

Of course, that's the point.

The Journal Sentinel is neither liberal nor conservative -- especially on its news pages.

Its anachronistic editorial page is a whole other deal (remember, it endorsed Scott Walker for governor and Abele for county exec).

Still, ideologues on both sides have plenty of material to complain about, and you can read hundreds of their pearls of wisdom on stories posted anonymously at JS Online.

You know, like this (uncorrected) gem from "allOverAgain:" "The demorats are the lowliest form of life on the planet, the ends justify the means, so the candidate is of little consequence. Bring us your wretched, morally challenged, and principally bankrupt, we are the proud marxist/demorat party."

At least a little more focused was this critic of the newspaper, "WIbloodlines," who typed, "The conservative JS will keep digging up these very old or non-newsworthy stories..."

Another, calling himself "MKEblues," asked Bice, "Dan, aren't you worried that the JS endorsed Abele?"

This modern practice of ranting behind a silly pseudonym is a topic for another day. But, of course, it adds nothing to the political discussion but vitriol.

While I can't speak for Bice, I can speak as a former Journal Sentinel reporter. Reporters don't spend a lot of time worrying about what the editorial page does. The concern of a good reporter is the story that you're working on; that it's accurate and fair and as complete as possible.

And the fine reporters on these stories, Bice, Cary Spivak, Ben Poston, Patrick Marley and Larry Sandler are professionals. They work hard to keep their own views out of their stories. I'm not saying they're liberal. In most cases, I don't even know their individual views.

I've been in this business for more than three decades and have heard complaints of media bias ever since I started as a wire service reporter in Chicago. Generally, a media bias complaint comes when a story doesn't fit a reader's particular point of view.

The news doesn't always fit in an us-and-them point of view that is fostered by conservative talk radio, but mirrored by partisans on the left. Some reporters covering the Madison protests felt it from protesters with an "if you're not with us, your against us" attitude.

Ideologues seem to forget that not everybody is an ideologue. In fact, I believe most people aren't.

But they're the ones squawking, both online and on talk radio, obscuring any real political discussion.

In the meantime, reporters will continue to report.

On TV: In what could potentially be a big deal, Netflix has picked up its first original series, a politically thriller called "House of Cards" starring Kevin Spacey. It won't launch until late 2012, but could continue the revolution in how we watch television and present another challenge to tradition networks.

  • Nothing's official, but it's likely that Sunday night's season finale of ABC's "Detroit 1-8-7" will be the final installment of the well-made, but little-watched cop show.
  • Speaking of doomed ABC shows, the network has scheduled a non-rerun of "No Ordinary Family" for Saturday night, the place shows go to die. Again, there's no official word on the fate of show. It was originally scheduled for March 29.
  • In a sign of the power of Fox's "Glee," the show's first original songs, "Losers Like Me" and "Get it Right," hit the top of the iTunes chart last week, after they aired on the show.
  • Syfy has ordered a second season of British remake "Being Human."
  • The Chicago Sun-Times has had another round on newsroom layoffs, including media/advertising columnist Lewis Lazare.

A bit of a wait for "Terra Nova" on Fox: "Terra Nova," a drama with Steve Spielberg's name among the executive producers, was supposed to debut later this spring. But Fox has pushed what it calls an "one of the most ambitious television series ever produced" back to this fall.

The special-effects laden show is about time travel, a dying planet in 2149 and an family colonizing the prehistoric Earth in an attempt at a second chance to build civilization.

Instead, Fox released this 30-second promo for the upcoming show:

Tim Cuprisin Media Columnist

Tim Cuprisin is the media columnist for He's been a journalist for 30 years, starting in 1979 as a police reporter at the old City News Bureau of Chicago, a legendary wire service that's the reputed source of the journalistic maxim "if your mother says she loves you, check it out." He spent a couple years in the mean streets of his native Chicago, and then moved on to the Green Bay Press-Gazette and USA Today, before coming to the Milwaukee Journal in 1986.

A general assignment reporter, Cuprisin traveled Eastern Europe on several projects, starting with a look at Poland after five years of martial law, and a tour of six countries in the region after the Berlin Wall opened and Communism fell. He spent six weeks traversing the lands of the former Yugoslavia in 1994, linking Milwaukee Serbs, Croats and Bosnians with their war-torn homeland.

In the fall of 1994, a lifetime of serious television viewing earned him a daily column in the Milwaukee Journal (and, later the Journal Sentinel) focusing on TV and radio. For 15 years, he has chronicled the changes rocking broadcasting, both nationally and in Milwaukee, an effort he continues at

When he's not watching TV, Cuprisin enjoys tending to his vegetable garden in the backyard of his home in Whitefish Bay, cooking and traveling.